TARTE TATIN

When my good friend Paul mentioned to me a few weeks ago that his favourite dessert is a tarte tatin, I decided to make him one for his birthday.

For something so simple to put together, this is one amazing dessert. Apples fried in butter and sugar until they caramelise, topped with puff pastry & popped in the oven. Heaven!

(Note that I used 1 x Jus Rol pack of ready rolled puff pastry and therefore made it easier by eliminating one step, ie rolling out pastry and chilling for 20 minutes)

Ingredients
250g puff pastry
75g softened butter
175g caster sugar
750g (about 5) firm dessert apples (I used Braeburn apples), peeled, cored and halved.
Vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out a 26cm disc, slightly larger than the top of a 20cm non-stick oven-proof frying pan. Transfer to a baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Melt the butter in the frying pan, then sprinkle over the sugar in a thick, even layer.


Place the apples in the pan on top of the sugar.


Keep the pan over a medium heat and cook for 20-25 minutes, gently shaking the pan now and then, until the butter and sugar have amalgamated with the apple juices to produce a rich toffee coloured sauce and the apples are just tender. Take care that the butter and sugar are not allowed to burn. *


Just before you top the apples with the pastry, make sure they are tightly packed in the pan, rounded side down.

Prick the pastry 5 or 6 times then lift and place the pastry on top of the apples and tuck in the edges down inside the pan.


Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed, crisp and golden.


Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges and invert it onto a round, flat serving plate. Serve warm with ice cream or creme fraiche.


* I had to do the butter/sugar stage 3 times. The first time I didn’t stir it. I thought it would start caramelising and bubbling on its own. It didn’t. It just burnt then went grainy. The second time I stirred it and it still went grainy although it didn’t burn this time! The third time, I added the apples straight away and that seemed to do the trick. The juices from the apples kept the mix smooth.